How To Demonstrate Parental Fitness In A Child Custody Case

Whenever a court handles a child custody issue, it wants to know that a parent is fit to deal with a kid's needs. Courts measure fitness in emotional, physical, and economic terms. A child custody lawyer will typically demonstrate a client's parental fitness by doing the following.

Home Stability

One of the biggest concerns is that a parent can provide a stable home. A parent should have some demonstrated capacity to maintain a household. This includes dealing with the financial burdens of keeping a roof over your head, getting groceries, schooling the child, and participating in activities. Likewise, home life should be emotionally stable enough for a kid to thrive.

Expected child support is a factor in measuring the financial situation. Your custody attorney also typically serves as a child support lawyer. They can help you show how adding support to your current finances would meet financial fitness goals.


Parents should provide evidence of their involvement with the child. Photos and testimony from other family members are useful. If the kid is school-age, then you might ask teachers to contribute testimony. Religious and community figures who are engaged with the family can also describe a parent's involvement with the child to the court.

If you can document how you handle the child's care, that is helpful, too. A child custody attorney can present evidence that you take the kid to the doctor and school, for example.


You should also demonstrate that the child will be safe in your presence. This extends beyond questions about abuse. A home environment should be physically safe. Parents should make every effort to kid-proof their homes. If there is a documented dangerous animal on the property, such as a dog with a history of biting people, consider getting rid of the animal.

Co-Parenting and Legal Compliance

Most custody arrangements are functionally co-parenting agreements. Even if one parent has primary physical custody, the other will have physical custody of the kid some of the time. While there are exceptions in extreme cases, a judge generally wants to know that both parents can work together to deal with doctor's visits, school attendance, and family events. Also, you should be able to comply with the letter of any court orders.

Even if you're upset at the other parent, don't let it affect your co-parenting relationship. If you're mad about support payments, hire a child support attorney and let them handle it. Also, avoid talking with the child about custody and support issues.